Sunday, February 19, 2012

Roasted Broccoli w/Butternut Squash Cheese Sauce

A co-worker recently made mention of vegan butternut squash mac & cheese. I had never heard of this wonderful idea before, but knew I needed to try it. Like most vegans, I'm always searching for the "best" vegan mac & cheese recipe. When I googled vegan butternut squash mac & cheese most of the results led me back to the same place, Oh She Glows. I had a squash I picked up at the co-op that I needed to use, so I decided I would give it a try. I made the baked variation because I figure most mac & cheese is better baked with bread crumbs on top. The results were good, but I wasn't blown away, and I don't think Chase was either. I had some extra cheese sauce leftover and put it in the fridge thinking I would try to do something with it, but I wasn't sure what.

When I remember to look through all the shrink veggies at work (the ones that we deem not good enough to sell, but almost always good enough to eat), I usually find lots of stuff to take home. Recently there was an abundance of broccoli and cauliflower. I never buy these particular veggies because my husband finds them unbearably bitter, but since they were free, I figured I would take them home and hopefully find a time I could enjoy them by myself. I had been wanting to try oven roasted broccoli for a while, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity. I cut up the broccoli and cauliflower into bite sized pieces and spread them out on a foil lined sheet pan. Using my new Misto olive oil sprayer (thanks mom!), I lightly sprayed them with olive oil, tossing them a couple times to coat all sides of veggies. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and a few cloves of chopped garlic.

In a 400 degree oven, I roasted them for 10 minutes, turned the veggies with a spatula, and put them back in for another 5 minutes until just starting to crisp up.

They were delicious on their own, but I remembered I had leftover cheese sauce from the day before, and figured I would try to use it up. OMG, the combination of the veggies and the cheese sauce is soo good! I now make the cheese sauce with the intention of eating it on roasted broccoli because it is so good. I can eat a whole head of broccoli in one sitting when it's served this way, and there is nobody to fight me for it since Chase doesn't like broccoli :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Stuffed Sugar Cookies

The Co-op had Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter on sale this past week. If you haven't tried this stuff, you should. It's amazing. It's nothing like the inferior Nutella. It has some texture to it, and has the perfect sweet/salty combination. Since it was on sale, I felt justified in using it in baked goods. Usually I just eat it right off the spoon, but I saw this idea floating around on Pinterest. They were using Nutella, of course, but I new I had to veganize it the second I saw it.
I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe that I found on I always use ice cream scoops when I make my cookies, something I've learned from my years in food service. They produce the most consistant results. I used two sizes for these cookies, one for the cookie dough, and a baby one for the chocolate hazelnut butter. After I scooped out the cookie dough, I flattened it into rounds and topped it with the scoop of nut butter. I sprinkled the nut butter with a little coarsely ground sea salt.

I gathered the cookie dough up and around the nut butter and rolled them smooth in my hands.
To make them even more delicious, I rolled each cookie in sugar. You could skip this step if you wanted to, but it makes them a little crunchy on the outside and makes them look nicer too.
I baked them for 12-14 minutes, a little longer than called for in the recipe since I was dealing with a much thicker cookie. Let them cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Latest Project

Origami paper earrings.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zucchini Coming Out of My Wazoo!

Year after year I seem forget just how much zucchini comes off of one plant and plant way more than I actually need. This year I tried a different variety, romanesco zucchini, and planted four plants. The plants get much bigger with this variety than ones I've planted in previous years, but I like the zucchini itself a lot more. I think it has more flavor and seems less watery than other varieties, and when they get outta control huge, they still taste pretty good. These are my plants about a month ago, they have now taken up all that empty garden space you see there.

Since my husband doesn't appreciate zucchini like I do, I have to hide it in food so he doesn't notice it. I usually use this recipe for chocolate zucchini bread, but this year I wanted to try something different. I found this recipe and thought it looked good. I'm so glad I tried it, because it's my new favorite recipe. It turns out to be kind of like a savory biscuit or scone. I ended up having to add a lot of additional liquid to the dough both times I made it, though it may depend on how watery your zucchini is. I like it better when you mix the vegan cheese into the mixture instead of putting it on top, and I think it would be just as delicious without the cheese too. My picture isn't very good, but don't let that keep you from trying the recipe.

This next recipe is one of my favorite zucchini recipes passed on to me from my mom. I'm not sure where she found it, but we veganized it years ago. If you like comfort food, you'll like this.

Zucchini Corn Casserole

1 cup chopped onion
3 1/2 T. margarine, divided
1 lb. zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 1/2 T. all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups plain soy milk or other non-dairy milk
6 oz. shredded vegan monterey jack or cheddar cheese
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano

Preheat oven to 350.ยบ Saute onion in 1 1/2 T. margarine, about 6 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in corn, salt and pepper and cook for 3 more minutes.

Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in soymilk and cook until thick and creamy. Stir in vegan cheese. Pour this mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside.

Melt remaining margarine in a large saute pan, add breadcrumbs, minced garlic and oregano and cook until lightly browned. Spread this mixture evenly over your casserole. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kale and Tofu Stir-Fry

It's finally cooling down here in central Illinois, and my kale is as happy as can be. Last year I pulled my kale up before this time because it was so littered with bugs I didn't think it would bounce back. This year, out of sheer laziness, I left it in the ground and it started putting off new, beautiful leaves. I picked a hefty bunch of them and needed to use them right away because I was about to leave town for a week. I didn't have many other ingredients in the house, so I threw together a simple and tasty stir-fry.

Kale and Tofu Stir-Fry

Olive oil
1 large bunch kale, washed and chopped
1 pound firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce (less if using strong soy sauce)
2-3 T. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. powdered ginger

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add crumbled tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger and cook until heated through and some of the moisture has cooked off. Add washed and chopped kale and continue to cook until kale has wilted and is tender (may take longer if using a tougher variety of kale). Serve over cooked rice or quinoa.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Upton's Ground Beef Seitan Wontons

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, which would have been more appealing. But I'm sure you can picture those delicious little fried morsels of tastiness that most Chinese restaurants have on their appetizer menus. If you have a decent Asian Grocery in your area, you should be able to buy frozen wonton wrappers that are vegan. You can use whatever meat substitute you want in your wontons, I chose Upton's Ground Beef Style Seitan this time because it's easily accessible to me and relatively inexpensive, not to mention it's a great product and I feel good supporting them because they are a good local company.

Wonton Filling:

1/2 small yellow onion, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1 T. Toasted Sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. Upton's Ground Beef Seitan
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large saute pan, add both kinds of onion, cook until softened. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add ground "beef" of other meat substitute and saute until hot.


Thawed wonton wrappers
Small bowl of water

On a cutting board or plate, lay out one wonton wrapper. Place about 1 tsp. filling in the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger into the water and run it around the edges of the wonton wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half, sealing the edges well. Set aside and continue with the remaining filling.

Once you have used up all your filling your wontons are ready to be fried. I use a deep fryer set at 350 degrees. Fry until golden. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Veggie Enchiladas

While I was working today, I suddenly smelled something that made me think of enchiladas. I'm not sure what it was, we weren't making enchiladas, but I knew at that moment I was going to make them for dinner tonight. I've tried a couple recipes for them in the past that were pretty good, but they were all too complicated and time consuming. I did some enchilada recipe research on my lunch break and decided I'd throw something together instead of just following a recipe word for word. I have to say, I was pretty pleased with them. A lot of times when I just "wing it" with recipes, they don't turn out the best. I put whatever veggies I had on hand in them, but I'm sure there are other combinations that would be just as good.

Veggie Enchiladas

2-10oz. cans red enchilada sauce
1-can vegetarian refried beans
1-package small flour tortillas
2 T. vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small summer squash, seeded and diced
4 oz. baby bella or white mushrooms, diced (other vegetables can be substituted)
¾ cup frozen corn
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp oregano (Mexican if available)
1/8 tsp. chipotle powder
salt, to taste
2 cups cheddar style Daiya Shreds
1 can chopped chili peppers (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish, set aside. Heat oil in large pan until hot. Add onion, sprinkle with a little salt and cook until onions begin to soften. Add the squash, garlic and mushrooms and cook until just tender. Add in the frozen corn and spices and cook until corn is heated through. Taste mixture, add salt and more seasonings as needed. Heat the refried beans with approximately ¼ cup of enchilada sauce in a pan until hot.

Pour one can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the glass baking dish. To assemble enchiladas, put a generous amount of beans down the middle of each tortilla, topped with some of the vegetable mixture, sprinkle with a little Daiya cheese and roll tightly. Lay enchiladas, seem side down, in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, making sure to coat the tortillas thoroughly. Sprinkle enchiladas with any remaining cheese and chopped chili peppers. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling. Good with guacamole and soy sour cream.